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Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt
Synopses & Reviews
With the epic scope of A Civil Action, Last Man Standing is an unforgettable chronicle of the twenty-seven-year struggle to break a conspiratorial abuse of power and free one of America's most famous political prisoners.
In 1968, twenty-year-old Elmer Gerard "Geronimo" Pratt returned from Vietnam with a chest full of medals and a Purple Heart into the most heated racial climate in American history. Taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, Pratt enrolled at UCLA, where the Black Panther Party was busy recruiting. Propelled by a diverse group of African Americans, the Panther agenda was a volatile mix of black rage, black pride, altruism, idealism, and violence. Under the charismatic leadership of Eldridge Cleaver, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, and Bunchy Carter, Pratt rose to the rank of Deputy Minister of Defense and became leader of the Los Angeles Chapter. The Panthers did not go unnoticed by J. Edgar Hoover. In the era of enemies' lists, his FBI drew up its own list of Panthers to be "neutralized" and began a systematic counterintelligence program to undermine black solidarity. Geronimo Pratt headed Hoover's list. When an FBI informer within the Panther party agreed to testify that Pratt murdered a young woman at a Santa Monica tennis court, his days as a free citizen came to an end.
If not for the unlikely alliance of a brash African American defense attorney (Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.), a radical Irish Jewish law student (Stuart Hanlon), a Protestant minister (Rev. James McCloskey), and the indefatigable Pratt-his spirit unbroken by eight years in solitary confinement-a horrifying miscarriage of justice would never have been rectified. As riveting biography, courtroom drama, and just plain narrative nonfiction, Last Man Standing is certain to take its place among the finest works of American judicial history.
Book News Annotation:
Olsen, the author of 31 books, is a former bureau chief for Time and has written for numerous magazines. Here he turns his energetic reporting skills to the story of Geronimo Pratt, a member of the Black Panther Party who was targeted by the FBI to be "neutralized" in 1968. Pratt was imprisoned for a murder he did not commit and spent eight years in solitary confinement before he saw justice through the efforts of defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. and others.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"Last Man Standing" is an unforgettable chronicle of the 27-year struggle to break a conspiratorial abuse of power and free one of America's most famous political prisoners. He is Geronimo Pratt, unjustly convicted of murder in the late 1960s as part of an FBI counter-intelligence program.
About the Author
Jack Olsen is the author of thirty-one books and the winner of many awards, including the Edgar and the National Headliners Awards. A former bureau chief for Time, he has written for Vanity Fair, Life, People, Paris Match, the New York Times, and Reader's Digest. He lives on an island in Washington's Puget Sound with his wife and children.
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